Badge of Honor: Wyatt Newmann

(Last Updated On: February 11, 2016)

I discovered the incredible story of photographer Wyatt Neumann I felt had to be shared to expose the ignorant nature of an uninformed and, frankly, brainwashed populace who would verbally condemn a father for images he shared online of his young daughter.  Even more noteworthy is Mr. Neumann’s response to his attackers—fighting back with grace and facts and with the very images he was so maligned for posting.

The Safari, NYC - (untitled) (2014)

The Safari, NYC – (untitled) (2014)

“These compelling images of children, taken by their father, have been scrutinized and censored by conservatives who deemed them pornography. Along with the images will be the statements made by these people, people who hide behind the cloak of Internet, attacking real people from a veil of anonymity. This work unintentionally documents censorship in the Information Age, an issue we are just beginning to understand.”  -KP Lawless, Safari Gallery

“In my photographs, some people see innocence and beauty, while others see only sexual victimization and violence. It’s an interesting lesson in the power of fear and fundamentalism, and the aggression that it can spawn. It’s also a mirror that we can look at and see ourselves looking back. It’s a chance to decide how we want to view the world, and to decide what kind of world we want to create. For ourselves, our futures, and the future we leave for our children.”  -Wyatt Neumann

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Wyatt Neumann, (Untitled) (2014)

Learn more about this story in this Huffington Post article and from The Safari Gallery in New York which exhibited his work using one of the narrow-minded comments he received as a badge of honor: “I feel sorry for your children.”

Particularly moving is a short video on YouTube about Mr. Neumann, the knee-jerk hysteria that ensued and the support which came from other families with children.

[September 23, 2014] A number of readers expressed an interest in seeing more of the Neumann images and another was kind enough to offer a selection from the book.  With each image I will state Neumann’s comment, then the rude comment published in the book, then mine.  Neumann’s handle is #dadlife.  -Ron

Neumann: here you go: a not-so-rare sighting of not-so-elusive wild stella in her not-so-natural habitat. (at Navajo Nation, AZ)

Commenter: One photo where his daughter was crouched naked on the highway in the middle of the desert, looking like a feral cat.  The look on her face is disturbing.

Me: What I find disturbing (and I think I can speak for Rousseau as well) is that some grown-ups are so spiritually bereft that they cannot enjoy and appreciate the animal spirits of very young children.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (1)

Neumann: Swan Song.

Commenter: It’s not just his daughter he’s exploiting, either. He has one of his son where he’s throwing him up in the air, naked, with his penis flying.

Me: Unmitigated Joy. (and a great shot to boot!)

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (2)

Neumann: everything good in the world lives within the eyes of my children.

Commenter: Every good thing you are and every good thing you do is cancelled out by the fact that you exploit your children.  You truly have no right to do this to them.

Me: Every good parent should be lucky enough to have such a tender and candid shot of their child.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (3)

Neumann: definition of true happiness: driving down the highway with all the windows rolled down, cranking “out of the blue” by julian casablancas and singing at the top of my lungs to my screaming and giggling baby girl… ❤❤❤

Commenter: He’s such a passive aggressive little diva.  #dadlife? More like #douchelife

Me: It’s called being irreverent (and more unmitigated self-expression on Stella’s part).  We could use a little more of that in our society.  Shouldn’t he at least be given credit for securing her properly in a child seat?

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (4)

This image appears with no text and falls on the copyright page.  I’m surprised there was not some comment condemning this community for allowing a half-naked child to be in their midst.

Wyatt Neumann - from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)

Wyatt Neumann – from I Feel Sorry for your Children (2014) (5)

5 thoughts on “Badge of Honor: Wyatt Newmann

  1. It is a shame when one can not enjoy the beauty of childhood. Today’s closed minded populace immediate thoughts turn to sexuality when it pertains to nudity. Gone are the Victorian days when childhood nudity was seen as an expression of beauty and wonder. Gone are the days of an innocent snapshot of bath time used as something to look back upon one day and laugh. The cases of actual child exploitation unfortunately make it so that the uninformed outsider can not differentiate between innocent beauty and pornography. I have had to explain the differences before, but could not make the second party understand that the two are separate. Is Michelangelo’s David pornography? No, it is nudity. Until this world will think for themselves, talented artists will be doomed to persecution and ostracized by a collective minded majority.

    • You and Christian (below) are absolutely right!
      The nude was always a legitimate subject of art, in all the centuries before photography was even invented. And the nude was woman, man, child, or any combination of them. What about all of the paintings in museums around the world of a naked infant Jesus being nursed by the Virgin Mary?

  2. I hope that he publishes a book of those works. He could be the next Sally Mann or Jock Sturges.

    ALSO, would it be possible for you to add a few MORE of his images here?

  3. The twisted mind of these modern bigots reminds me of what Morton Hunt wrote about the early Church Fathers in his 1959 book “The Natural History of Love”, in Section 4.3 “The Struggle against Lust”:
    “Indeed, it becomes clear as one reads those scores of brief tales that the monks had no genuine wish to be free of tormenting desire; their heroism and spiritual satisfaction lay in defeating the powerful urge, and without it their desert life would have been hollow and meaningless.
    For these practitioners of asexuality were, in fact, more totally preoccupied with sex than any pagan debauchee. They credited themselves with immense concupiscence and very fragile will power; not by thought, but by desperate deeds, did they stay pure.”
    Later on we read:
    “The struggle against lust produced an explosive state of mind; the personality could be held together only by the tenacious cement of irrationality”.
    Then Hunt explains how this led to irrational dogmatism (Tertullian’s “I believe because it is absurd”), book burning and misogyny.
    Extrapolating to today’s fundamentalism, the crusaders against childhood nudity are much more totally preoccupied with the sexual appeal of children than any open pedophile.

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